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The Chinese accounting profession in the People’s Republic: A preliminary understanding from an oral history perspective

Qingmei Xue and Luca Zan

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: While oral history still has a marginal role in accounting literature in general, it has not been applied at all in relation to the history of Chinese accounting. Within broader research on accounting change in China, this paper uses oral history to investigate patterns of the career of accountants in China. We interviewed 21 retired accountants, aging from 60 to 90 at the time of the interview, asking them to share their professional experience in open and unstructured talk. We reconstruct individual experiences, which provides insights into the working lives of our interviewees. Unlike previous studies that only focus on influential informants, we investigate Chinese accounting changes as they emerge from the collective memory of everyday accountants. Taking a pluralist perspective, we collect non-archival data to illustrate the education and common elements in accounting career development. Our approach takes a ‘view from below’, underlining the limitations of top-down perspectives in most of the literature on accounting change in China. The findings contribute to our understanding of accounting changes in China and their social and economic impacts on the profession while providing interesting implications for oral history in accounting in general.

Keywords: oral history; accounting profession; China; Chinese accounting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: M41 N35 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-acc, nep-cna and nep-his
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